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Saturday July 2nd, 2022 8:14AM

Leader says Turkey opposes letting Finland, Sweden join NATO

By The Associated Press

HELSINKI (AP) — A report by the Swedish government on the changed security environment facing the Nordic country after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine says Moscow would react negatively to Sweden joining NATO and launch several counter-measures.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday that his country is “not favorable” toward Finland and Sweden joining the alliance. As a NATO member, Turkey could veto moves to admit the two countries.

“We are following developments concerning Sweden and Finland carefully but we are not of a favorable opinion,” Erdogan told reporters.

The Swedish government’s security policy analysis, which will be used as a basis for Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson’s Cabinet to decide whether to seek membership in the Western military alliance, was presented to Swedish lawmakers Friday.

The report points to number of advantages to joining NATO - above all the collective security provided by the 30-member military alliance. At the same time, it lists numerous tactics Russia is likely to take in retaliation.

These would include cyber and different kind of hybrid attacks, violations of Swedish airspace or territorial sea. Other aggressive behavior including strategic signaling with nuclear weapons are also conceivable from Moscow, the report said.

The report states that Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine limits the possibilities for attacks on other countries but that Russia still has the capacity for a limited number of hostile measures against countries like Sweden.

The report does not make recommendations whether Sweden should join NATO or not. Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde told lawmakers at the Riksdagen legislature that “an armed attack on Sweden cannot be ruled out” and pointed to the security guarantee that NATO membership would offer.

The president and prime minister of Nordic neighbor Finland said Thursday they’re in favor of rapidly applying for NATO membership, paving the country’s way to formally announce membership bid in the coming days.

Sweden’s governing Social Democratic Party, led by Andersson, will decide its NATO stance on Sunday.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP World News
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